Certificated to experimental

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Twmaster

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I watched a video published by EAA where they featured a man who built a plane for $6,200. He says it's a bunch of parts from other airplanes. It's also obvious he fabricated a bunch of things to keep it cheap. In the cabin there's the "experimental" placard.

What I don't understand is how this is possible. The video did not go into a lot of details or show any images of the construction. At what point does a certified craft become eligible for "experimental"?

Thanks.
 

Aerowerx

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I don't know a direct answer to your question, but I know the late great Bob Hoover had his factory built stock Rockwell Aero commander licensed as experimental. Because it wasn't rated for the aerobatics he was doing. I saw him fly it at the 50th anniversary of KCMH. Impressive!

So it can be done. I just don't know how (although he had all the lawyers at Rockwell to help).
 

Wanttaja

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I don't know a direct answer to your question, but I know the late great Bob Hoover had his factory built stock Rockwell Aero commander licensed as experimental. Because it wasn't rated for the aerobatics he was doing. I saw him fly it at the 50th anniversary of KCMH. Impressive!

So it can be done. I just don't know how (although he had all the lawyers at Rockwell to help).
Aero Commander N5007H. Listed as deregistered as of January 1990. No entry for airworthiness type, but I could certainly see it being put into Experimental Exhibition.

Oddly enough only the older photos show an N-Number...the later ones seem to have left it off. None is showing in the Udvar-Hazy....
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Ron Wanttaja
 

Turd Ferguson

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I watched a video published by EAA where they featured a man who built a plane for $6,200. He says it's a bunch of parts from other airplanes. It's also obvious he fabricated a bunch of things to keep it cheap. In the cabin there's the "experimental" placard.

What I don't understand is how this is possible. The video did not go into a lot of details or show any images of the construction. At what point does a certified craft become eligible for "experimental"?
I think the video you are referring to is a budget homebuilt by Tim Buttles.

While he did use salvaged parts, the airplane easily meets the criteria for experimental amateur built. He might be oversimplifying by saying it's a bunch of parts from other airplanes.

husky chaser.jpeg
 

Pops

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Paul Poberezny built "Little Audrey" with shorten Luscombe wings and a cut down T-Craft steel tube fuselage. Could it be done today?

We have come a long ways baby.
 

don january

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Doesn't the Breezy fall into that zone ? Cub wings and an engine ? I can only imagine all the GA parts used in the HBA world would blow our minds.
 

Mohawk750

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Now a days you can accomplish what qualifies as 51% build without actually fabricating much of anything. It's mostly an assembly process, with a full manual and online support. Witness today's kits which require no welding, wings pre-assembled, critical parts fully finished, etc. Truth is that the assembly, rigging, systems installation, instruments and engine installation , covering etc. will meet 51%. US FAA rules and Canadian TCCA rules are similar in this regard, meaning there is a process to have your project evaluated for qualification as an "experimental" (USA) or "amateur built" (Canada).

Many years ago I rebuilt a '46 Taylorcraft in mostly stock form but because it was built up from a basket case of parts I had it evaluated for eligibility as an amateur built. In Canada the regulator has delegated the responsibility for amateur built aircraft inspection to the Recreational Aircraft Association (RAA). So I started a file with the RAA for my project and had it evaluated for eligibility at the same time as my pre-cover inspection. I had already printed out the check list they were going to use and had self assessed the project at 70-75% owner built. The inspector agreed and I proceeded that way as it would leave me much more latitude for improvements or engine upgrades in the future.
 

TFF

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The normal bolts and rivets used are certified airplane parts, so it depends. Full wings and fuselages are frowned upon now days, but not saying it’s not possible. Brackets, bits and pieces are not generally issues because you are using them differently. The score sheet the FAA has you fill out will give a good idea where you might stand. There are real cheaters out there, but they are a handful against thousands of by the book.

Wheels, brakes, props, engine mounts, panel stuff, brackets, sticks and pedals; the glorified hardware is usually clear of question. I know of a Stits Playboy that the seat is a waste gunner jump seat from a B-17. Scrounging is a big part of homebuilts.
 

Doran Jaffas

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I watched a video published by EAA where they featured a man who built a plane for $6,200. He says it's a bunch of parts from other airplanes. It's also obvious he fabricated a bunch of things to keep it cheap. In the cabin there's the "experimental" placard.

What I don't understand is how this is possible. The video did not go into a lot of details or show any images of the construction. At what point does a certified craft become eligible for "experimental"?

Thanks.
An experimental certified airplane is good for only exhibition purposes in the purpose of testing different non-certified as of yet equipment. If you're doing a full-on restoration of a particular aircraft in the classic category you can get your repairman certificate for that and only that airplane the same way you would get your repairman certificate for an experimental amateur built. there is a gray area when you are putting a bunch of different parts together and making a completely different airplane that I believe does qualify but again you have to be doing more than 51% of the total work involved which is really not difficult to do. I'd be interested in what the airplane is or was and what it is now. Very good question to ask. There is never a stupid question so please don't be afraid to ask about anything. I've been an aviation a long time and the only people the same to think there are dumb questions are the ones that really do not know that much themselves and most on here that I have seen anyway are extremely good at answering questions and being patient with everybody.
 

rv7charlie

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The FAA has held various positions on re-using certified parts in *homebuilt* experimental category. It used to be very easy to re-use stuff; many years ago my neighbor rebuilt a Taylorcraft as a clipwing, and the local FSDO gave him a homebuilt cert for it. He flew the plane professionally in airshows for a while. Years later at an airshow, the FAA rep covering the airshow told him that the homebuilit a/w cert shouldn't have been issued. Later, it was reported that the FAA said that *no* parts from a cert. a/c could be used in a homebuilt, but quickly revised that to say that on the newly instituted homebuilder task checklist, you'd get zero credit for any certified *assemblies* (a wing; a fuselage, etc) even if you rebuilt it (that would be considered a repair to a certified part). That allows using some major assemblies, as long as you can still get 51% of the boxes checked on the homebuilt side. If you use wings from one cert plane and the fuselage from another, you just lost all your 'checkboxes' for the wings *and* the fuselage, so getting to 51% is basically impossible at that point.

IMO, there are some incorrect or misleading statements here. Remember, there are multiple experimental categories; homebuilt is only one. Homebuilt is the only one for which you can get a 'repairman's certificate' (which is actually used *only* for the annual condition inspection; not repair). All other categories require, at minimum, an a&p certificate to sign off annual condition inspections. Exhibition category is kind of a catchall category to allow licensing of planes used to 'exhibit' new/different ideas, powerplants, etc, and for warbirds and other a/c that were originally built without a traditional a/w cert. The FAA isn't likely to allow us to swap our Cessna 172 a/w cert for an exp. exhibition certificate just to exhibit the fact that it will still fly without the normal category cert. Assuming you have something to 'exhibit' (say, a Honda engine powering the a/c), then the FAA should let you turn in the original cert for an exp exhibition cert. You then can, as a practical matter, operate the a/c with flight restrictions similar to those of the homebuilt category. Annual inspections can now be done by any a&p (no IA required, because there's no longer a type certificate to conform to). But there is no 'repairman's certificate' available for this category. Obviously, there are numerous details not listed here.

There are several other exp categories that I'm not as familiar with, like Restricted (typical for agricultural a/c), and Research and Development (used for testing designs bound for eventual certification).

Charlie
 

Wanttaja

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Charlie's summary was excellent, I just had one minor point:
Assuming you have something to 'exhibit' (say, a Honda engine powering the a/c), then the FAA should let you turn in the original cert for an exp exhibition cert. You then can, as a practical matter, operate the a/c with flight restrictions similar to those of the homebuilt category.
Anything OTHER than an Experimental Amateur-Built (EAB) or Experimental Light Sport (ELSA) categories, your flight restrictions are at the whim of the FSDO. With luck, you can get a set similar to those EAB aircraft get, but you might end up with more restricted operating limitations, and there's little chance to appeal.

Also, the EAB certificate is permanent, as is Experimental Light Sport. I believe the Experimental Exhibition, Research and Development, and several other Experimental sub-categories have to be renewed every year, and there's no guarantee your new limitations will be the same as the old.
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Ron Wanttaja
 

rv7charlie

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Ron, I think that if you look at the current regs, you will see that exhibition is now permanent. While you're expected to notify the FAA of 'events' where you intend to exhibit the plane, my understanding from multiple sources (including my FAA FSDO-employee neighbor) is that a faxed list at the beginning of the year, of all the shows you *might conceivably* think about attending, keeps the FSDO happy. And as to flight restrictions, the 300 nm radius around the home airport for 'proficiency flying' has been removed in HQ directives and is now structured in an almost identical fashion to the homebuilt restrictions (basically, stay away from densely populated areas for 'proficiency flying').
 

BBerson

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Homebuilts are "not for hire", so no airshow income. Not sure if exhibition is " for hire" in the air shows?
 

rv7charlie

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Homebuilts are "not for hire", so no airshow income. Not sure if exhibition is " for hire" in the air shows?
Not true. My neighbor flew airshows professionally for many years in a homebuilt experimental. (The issue that the airshow FAA guy raised was *not* flying it in airshows; it was the issuance of a homebuilt cert for what was essentially a repaired/modified certified airframe.)

The 'for hire' thing is kinda hard to get a grip on for us mere mortals. The FAA has some weird contortions about it, but it there's a line between simply flying the plane for money, and *carrying people and/or products* for money. Get paid for people to watch you fly? OK. Have someone pay you to ride along while you fly that same flight? Not OK. There's a pretty big body of case law of the FAA splitting that hair, even in certified a/c. For instance, you fly somewhere to attend a wedding, and a buddy says he'll pick up half the gas if he can ride along & go see a game in the same city. That's ok. But if your buddy asks you to fly him to a wedding, and you decide to attend a game the same day while you wait for him, it's not, even if he only pays half the gas.

Charlie
 

BBerson

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Got it. So you can take $12,000 cash payment to do dangerous stunts near a crowd but not $50 to check out a friend.
 

rv7charlie

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I actually have a number of friends who have flown airshows professionally, and I suspect that all of them would get back in the business in a New York Minute, if you're offering $12K per performance. Most of them would have been elated to gross that much over a couple of seasons. 'Professionally' does not mean 'making a living'; it just means getting paid for work.
 

Turd Ferguson

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Got it. So you can take $12,000 cash payment to do dangerous stunts near a crowd but not $50 to check out a friend.
The performer has to incrementally demonstrate that his flying doesn't equate to dangerous stunts and the FAA requires the show routine be distanced far enough from crowd so even in recent bizarre airshow accidents, like the wingwalker at KDAY (Dayton, OH), the crowd was not subject to undue hazard.

Charlie is correct, for hire is carrying persons or property and charging specifically for that purpose.
 

Pops

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When I got my work airplane in the Restricted Category the FAA warned me about dropping off anyone in my airplane at another airport from the one we took off from. Said if we would get a complaint about 135 operation it would be in a gray area and they would investigate it. Made sure it never happen and no complaints .
 
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